Blogs in the Classroom
Upon completion of last terms unit of work entitled 'endangered species', my students were asked to prepare a PowerPoint in small groups. I then had the opportunity to create an assessment task that would allow students to demonstrate their knowledge of this program. I am really sad to say, but i believe that 90% of my class are extreme digital immigrants, even though they were born in the digital native world. There are just a few computers in the classroom and they are used only once or twice a week, for just a short time. I am also of the understanding that many do not have access to a computer at home.
Unfortunalty i have been unable to establish a blog with my students in the classroom. However, i have discussed the concept with them and the idea is one that excites them. The benefits that would be associated with incorporating a blog into my classroom would be immense. These benefits would include:
- promoting critical, analytical and higher order thinking
- ensuring a collaborative environment
- allowing for discussion, expression and reflection
- providing students with a voice and an audience within safe boundaries
- promoting life long learning
Using Kearsley and Shneiderman's (1999) engagement theory i would create a blog that can be used as a collaborative learning tool to be displayed, in part, at the school assembly. The following design is a very simple blog (at this stage with limited postings) that could be brought to the attention of the cohort. The proceeding is a brief summary of how i would utilise this blog in the classroom.
- Introduce the students to an avatar who explains what the blog has been designed for
- Upload a selection of YouTube videos that provide information regarding each of the topics we will be covering. These would include feudalism, people in medieval times, games and toys, guilds, clothing and food.
- Upload printable handouts for each of the topics that are to be completed during school hours
- Upload examples of student work
- Provide students with the URL to allow them to make comments on each of the topics we are discussing to promote discussion, opinion and reflection
- If resources were available, i would assign homework tasks that need to be completed
- Upload weekly quizzes to be completed, that demonstrate students knowledge of the prior topic
- Post links to Google Earth in order to explore modern day Europe
This link will direct you to the beginnings of such a blog.
Using blogs in the learning environment would create an engaging and authentic task. As i have mentioned in many of my previous posts, safety is one of my major concerns in a classroom. Programs such as Blogger and Edublogs allow the learning manager to create a password that can only be accessed by students and parents to ensure this safety remains paramount.
Until next time,
Kearsley, G., Shneiderman, B., (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from